Clear Line Clash, 2nd - 31st of July at Orbital Comics. Land of the Giants
From the ice‐age to the dole‐age / there is but one concern… To misquote Steven Patrick Morrissey; some girls are indeed bigger than others. And while the cast of
giantesses in Carl Stimpson’s most recent paintings certainly take some beating in this regard, scale is not
simply a question of perspective. Who are these monstrous glamour girls and where have they come
from? Why do they appear to stalk the rooftops of an unpeopled, anachronistic London?
For over a decade, Stimpson’s practice has drawn on a variety of sources in the development of both its
form and content – namely the ‘ligne claire’ technique inaugurated by Belgian cartoonist and Tintin
creator, Hergé; late‐twentieth‐century British popular music and the trademarks of well‐known industrial
While the paintings may deliberately ape the graphic simplicity and bold visual language of their pop
cultural references, this belies the intricacy of the methods undertaken in the process of their
composition. These involve (among others) the use of photography, Photoshop and the painstaking,
letter‐by‐letter extraction of text from Tintin comics. Once this process of collage and digital
manipulation is complete, the image is transferred to acetate and projected on to paper for the next
study to be made. At this point the photographic source material is refined and translated into‘clear line’
and inked in for colour reference. This study is then transferred to acetate to be projected on to canvas,
at which point the final painting is executed.
On these canvases, paint application and brushwork are unerringly democratic — an eyelash is treated
with the same care and attention as the tail of a letter ‘e’. Partly this ‘all‐over’ technique is borne out of
fidelity to the mechanically printed methods used to produce those images that Stimpson references
throughout his work. But a commensurate result is one of flattening and consolidation — creating a kind
of parallax effect whereby the viewer’s attention often fluctuates between an assumed background and
foreground. In this way, the paintings are always already interrogating the veracity of their own invented
world as well as our own cultural fascination with images and their ultimate (un)reliability. In this most
recent body of work we are also witness to a hitherto unseen self‐reflexive experiment whereby images
or characters from older paintings appear on billboards in Underground stations or on the sides of
buildings; adding another layer of fictive density and uncanniness.
The deployment of brand trademarks (of products used by the artist over a number of years) has become
increasingly prominent in recent works. For Stimpson, these brands have taken on the nature of
talismans — the touchstones of his working life. By lovingly tracing the bounding lines of these brand
names, the painter, rather than necessarily reaffirming them, perhaps actually divests them of their
linguistic integrity – the walls do, in fact, come tumbling down. Similarly (though conversely) oblong
tower block windows can be seen to incant the blank ‘I’ of their unknowable subjects — each
representing the anonymous life of its occupant(s).
The use of pop song lyrics superimposed onto the images creates yet further possibilities of
interpretation and narrative disjuncture. While the pop songs from which these lyric utterances derive
could be considered the wellspring of Stimpson’s creative imagination, their inclusion in these paintings
often provides not clarification, but rather, further obfuscation.
Through the dogged exploration of his own obsessions and desires, Stimpson pulls us through the looking
glass into a topsy‐turvy world in which colossi roam and brutalist architecture sings.
From the 24th to the 28th of March I’ll be showing some of my work along side the sculptures of Tim O'carroll and the paintings of Frederick Thackeray-Vincent.
Our exhibition will be taking place in Soho, London on the 1st floor of the lovely Georgian building of 49 Greek street.
The Private view will be held the evening of Thursday 24th March 6-9p.m.
Hope you can come and have a look/drink with us.
The wand and lasso are no longer the reserve of magicians and cowboys. The allure of beautiful women, the subtle veneer of oils and common material pushed to excess. Find them here, in a show of painting and sculpture.
Carl Stimpson’s analog practice has focused on producing strange new narratives from a host of cut and pasted comic book images.
Tim O’Carrolls abstract, process-based creations spontaneously combine ephemeral, cheap media such as card, foam and wax into beautiful bronze sculpture.
Fred Thackeray-Vincent’s paintings stem from places long forgotten, from things which have yet to be, and of substances that hang in between.
This show preserves a workman like ethic, made of those who closely hone a craft and with diligent care for their materials. Further statements, studies, post cards, sketches and more will be available on attendance of the private view.